A Triple Crown is not easy to win, as Smarty Jones and so many others before him have demonstrated, writes JACK MILNER, editor of Racing Express.
To prepare a horse for one race is hard enough. To have him at a peak for three successive races over different distances in a space of two months needs a Herculean effort and a lot of luck. One needs things to go smoothly in every respect.
Fortunately Pierre Jourdan seems an easy horse to train and just seems one of those freak animals who does whatever is necessary to win.
The one reservation is the distance. Will Pierre Jourdan see out the 2450m?
A lot of fuss has been made about the pace in the race, but trainer Mike de Kock says that is irrelevant. “He either stays or he doesn’t. A slow pace won’t make him stay.
“Pierre Jourdan is the class act but this could be a tough race for him to win. There were one or two running at him last time and it’s not going to be a walk in the park.’’
Irish Flame wins at Kenilworth.
De Kock pointed out his runner, Irish Flame, as well as Roy Magner’s Iwannadance as the horses he believes are Pierre Jourdan’s principle dangers.
Although Pierre Jourdan beat him easily in the SA Classic, Irish Flame stands out as the main threat. The Dynasty colt was not with De Kock for long when he contested the SA Classic and he is sure to improve, especially over this distance.
“He’s come on as he’s settled in Joburg,’’ said De Kock yesterday. “The longer he’s up here the better he’s got and for the first time this week, I’m fairly happy with him.
“I was very happy with his mile run the other day (where he finished a four-length sixth to Regal Ransom). He’s by Dynasty out of a Fort Wood so we have no problem with the distance.’’
“Ilsanpietro shows me quite a bit at home but he’s desperate to be gelded,’’ said De Kock. “He is better than his merit rating.’’ If that is the case then Conquered Dream must come into the reckoning.
And then there is De Kock’s third runner, Happy Valley, who did not disgrace himself when fourth in open company last time, carrying top weight over 2400m at the Vaal. “He ran a good race. He was not well ridden but I’m not sure he has the class to win a Grade 1,’’ said De Kock.
Whatever their thoughts, surely nobody will be too upset if the day belongs to Pierre Jourdan. After all, everybody loves a winner.